For this week’s blog, the Growth Coach is proud to welcome guest blogger and Growth Coach client, Christina Stovall of Stovall Organizing. Christina works with Mike Neuendorff, our franchise owner in San Mateo, California. Christina is a Professional Organizing Consultant who believes your business can be its best by using professional organizing techniques along with expert business strategies.
Can you imagine having a desk layout created just for you? Wouldn’t it be great to sit down and instantly be able to find what you need to start work? Arranging an optimal desk layout can have a big payoff in terms of your productivity and enjoyment. Here are 3 ways to get started on the path to your perfect desk.
1. Surround yourself with your tools
If you were up on a ladder, it makes sense to have all the things you need right there with you. You wouldn’t want to climb down and up the ladder to get the things you need to get the job done. And what person would carry up a bunch of tools that they didn’t need? Your desk is like that too. Surrounding yourself with the tools you need and removing the ones you don’t need allows you to quit climbing up and down the ladder (or in this case getting up and down from your chair).
- Desk Layout: An L or U shaped desk provides the most accessible desk area with the least amount of effort. Having a good chair that swivels allows you to reach everything easily and have an accessible work surface right there. You can create this layout with two tables, a desk and a low bookcase, file cabinets, or other furniture. Move things around till it suits you.
- Save the good spots for things you need everyday: Designate a few drawers near you for the supplies you use most often. Things like pens, stapler, stamps, paper, keyboard, light, calculator, or whatever you reach for every day. Have your action files in a file drawer next to you or on top of your desk within reach. If you use the printer and phone everyday, then locate them within sitting reach. This principle holds true for most things. Prime spot=frequent use.
- Get those seldom-used items out of the prime areas in your workspace: Less frequently use items might include reference files and reference books, the printer, office supplies and finished projects. They can go in a bookcase or cabinet somewhere else in your office or in another room. A get up and walk to spot = less frequent use.
2. Find the right amount of visual stimulation
Some people work better with nothing on their desks. Others find it de-motivating to stare a blank surface. The trick is to surround yourself with just the right amount of things. Too few and you may feel lost. Too many and it’s overwhelming. Most people know what the right level is for them. As you sit at your desk, check in with how motivated you are feeling. Are you ready to pick up your work and start or are you starring at the wall or shuffling through papers. Sometimes making things less visible helps such as taking your desk supplies off the desk and putting them in a drawer, closing a cabinet door or putting a curtain over the bookcase to hide things. To make things move visible, try putting your action files, to do list or supplies on your desk to give more visual stimulation. Be aware of what types of things provide motivation. Often piles of papers are very de-motivating to everyone.
3. Cater to you
Make it as easy as possible for you to use your desk. Organize yourself only to the level that it makes you feel better, helps you find things when you need them, and increases your ability to work more easily.
- Don’t set up labor-intensive systems that you really don’t need. A system can be as simple as tossing your ‘to be filed’ papers in a bin. Don’t demand it of yourself that you file everyday if that is just not what you need or want to do. However, do set a limit such as ‘when the bin is full, it’s time to file” and stick to it. Even the best and easiest systems require you actually use them! Conveniently locate a trashcan and recycle bin. Put up a hook where you like to hang your jacket. Label things. If you like to read magazines at your desk, make a spot for them. Cater to you! Anything and everything that makes your desk more functional, do it.
- Fix the annoyances. Living with a drawer that won’t close? Light bothering you? Hate your pencil holder? Make your office work for you. You are much more likely to file papers if your file drawer works well. Take the time to make your office not only functional, but a place that you like. After all, this is you and your productivity we are talking about!
And finally, stick with your new layout for a while. Test it out, see what you like and don’t like and tweak it around till it suits you exactly. Then enjoy your ‘new’ desk and productivity!